The Mule


Why build it?

The Serenity DVD was recently released in NZ - and we got a pretty good version according to DVD Compare. Coincidentally, I got itchy Lego fingers owing to not having built anything new for ages and ages. Given that I'd already seen an excellent Lego version of Serenity itself, I wanted to have a go at the Mule. That's the battered browny-yellow hover vehicle from the post-credits chase sequence. The fact that I think Serenity itself is rather ugly (heresy, I hear you say!) and the Mule is the best design in the entire movie was also an incentive.

I've since discovered that a couple of other people have made Mules already. Ah well, I may not be first but I had a lot of fun building the thing.

Oh, and talking of the DVD - the continuity in the Mule chase sequence is quite dodgy - the flaps fall off when Zoë whacks into the rock, but they're back when the Mule re-enters Serenity. I think the downward pointing 'lift engines' also appear and disappear throughout the sequence. I suspect the latter is because they got in the way of the hydraulic arm on which the full-size Mule was mounted for filming, but I'm only guessing.

Anyway, enjoy the pictures, and let me know what you think.


I created a simple wallpaper showing off the mule. It's currently available in 1280x1024 only. You can download it here.

Since it's created from the original 6MP photographs it shows a fair bit more detail than the web-friendly gallery images.

Construction notes

I did the sensible thing and picked yellow as a decent match for the buff-coloured Mule. If I'd used Tan or one of the other Lego brown shades I'd have been completely stuck. As it was, I had to get some new yellow parts to complete the model. The size was determined by a desire to use the rim-less windscreens from the Adventurers theme, and to use the smooth Technic slopes to make the angled part of the cranked beams which frame the vehicle.

I'd intended to build studs-up, since I find the use of SNOT for its own sake a bit odd. Of course, as soon as I'd decided this it turned out that I had to do some fairly fiddly studs-forward stuff to make the front of the crew compartment work - the flat versions of the pieces to which the windscreens attach were only available in yellow in three sets, ever. And those all came out years and years ago. The good thing about having to do all this stuff was that attaching the arm with the hook worked really well, and it was possible to fit in some neat details like the coloured skull decals on the left side. I think I secretly relish the challenge of SNOT building... And definitely I'm all for the hiding of studs with tiles and other pieces to better capture a shape.

The worst bits about building this were realising that it needed to be two studs wider to not look silly (about halfway through) and then that the front booms needed to be one stud longer to be in scale (right at the end). Lots of unpleasant ripping apart and rebuilding ensued.

On the plus side, the end result is definitely not minifig scale, which allowed me to fit in loads more detail, and makes this Mule different to the other Mules mentioned above. I think the scale ended up pretty accurate - I did it all by eye, sometimes holding the model up to the TV to check proportions with a suitable frame from the DVD.